Democrats Suffer “Parent Gap”
An analysis by a Democratic think tank argues that Democrats are suffering from a severe “parent gap” among married people with children, who say the entertainment industry is lowering the moral standards of the country. The study, published last week by the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), the policy arm of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, admonishes Democrats to pay more attention to parental concerns about “morally corrosive forces in the culture,” and warns that the party will not fare better with this pivotal voting bloc until they do.
In the 2004 election, married parents supported President Bush over Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts by nearly 20 percentage points. Mr. Bush frequently talked about the importance of faith and morals in his campaign and the role that parents played in raising their children. Mr. Kerry and his party, much of whose campaign funding and political support came from liberals in the entertainment industry, rarely touched the issue.
“Democrats will not do better with married parents until they recognize one simple truth: Parents have a beef with popular culture. As they see it, the culture is getting ever more violent, materialistic, and misogynistic, and they are losing their ability to protect their kids from morally corrosive images and messages,” said the study’s author, Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, co-director of the National Marriage Project of Rutgers University and a senior fellow at PPI.
“To be credible, Democrats must acknowledge the legitimacy of parents’ beef and make it unmistakably clear that they are on the parents’ side,” Ms. Whitehead said.
This is interesting although not necessarily dispositive. We have a name for people who think government should regulate the moral content of our popular culture: conservatives. Making the changes required to close this gap could well cost Democrats support within its base that more than offset the gains.